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February 1, 1995
Vol. 52
No. 5


Approaches to Clinical Supervision

Approaches to Clinical Supervision: Alternatives for Improving Instruction by Edward Pajak. Norwood, Mass.: Christopher Gordon Publishers, 1993.
Those studying supervision should have Edward Pajak's book high on their list of required reading. Pajak brings together “the most enduring, influential, popular, and respected models of clinical supervision” (Preface, ix).
From the very humanistic setting described by Eisner through the highly rationalized version of clinical supervision presented by Acheson and Gall, the message is that teachers are ultimately responsible for their own improvement. Supervision, in any form, facilitates that process. Pajak, in his objectivity, resists valuing one model over another, so readers are free to make their own interpretations.
Although I recommend this book for graduate students of supervision, Pajak presents an alternative for practitioners. They would do well to use the book as a resource, rather than a “must-read cover to cover.” I highly recommend, however, that no one skip the introduction, “The Evolution of Clinical Supervision,” and the final chapter, “Toward a Learning Community.”
Not to understand the history of supervision may indeed lead us to become victims of its newest fad. Edward Pajak is to be thanked for providing us with enough information to approach today's models of supervision through a historical perspective.
Available from Christopher Gordon Publishers, 480 Washington St., Norwood, MA 02062, for $36.95 plus 10% shipping and handling.
—Reviewed by Joanne Rooney, Pleasant Hill School, Palatine, Illinois.

Being Bright Is Not Enough

Being Bright Is Not Enough: The Unwritten Rules of Doctoral Study by Peggy Hawley. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C Thomas, Publisher, 1993.
Be forewarned and forearmed! Taking on a program of doctoral study can be a heady venture, striking at not only the mind, but the heart and the will. Many take the plunge. Too few, however, follow through with finesse and culminate the routine, having converted promise into fulfillment.
When it comes to attaining academe's terminal degree— the Ph.D.—“being bright is not enough.” So writes Professor Emeritus Hawley in what she heralds as a “literary mentor” for doctoral students in divergent disciplines. Indeed, this book's subject matter is grist for graduate faculty attention as well.
Replete with real-life examples from Hawley's lifework as an academic advisor, as well as interviews with doctoral students and professors nationwide, the book attempts to “be insightful rather than scientific, personal rather than objective, and practical rather than theoretical.” The author contrasts doctoral study with other educational endeavors and discusses how to select a research topic, choose a dissertation chair and additional committee members, establish the student/chair partnership, prepare the proposal, write the dissertation, work with the committee, and make the oral defense, while maintaining familial connections. Endnotes provide an annotated list of references.
Being Bright Is Not Enough is an informed, engaging, practical work; an indispensable tool for doctoral students striving to reap academe's foremost prize.
Available from Charles C Thomas, Publisher, 2600 S. First St., Springfield, IL 62794-9265, for $29.75.
—Reviewed by Philip A. Nathan, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Assessing Student Performance

Assessing Student Performance by Grant P. Wiggins. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1993.
Grant Wiggins has written the most comprehensive and exhaustive treatise available on the imperative to change the ways that we test and assess student performance. In this book, he sets out to explain what testing should involve “if the students' intellectual and moral interests are primary.”
In Wiggins's view, testing should develop self-assessment, an essential part of learning; be open, never secret or “secure”; and be based on clear, public criteria. All the purposes of assessment—from information about the student's learning to public accountability—he argues, can be fulfilled through thoughtful assessment tasks that are meaningful to the student and morally defensible.
In this book, Wiggins distills the wisdom of his experiences as a student, teacher, researcher, and above all, coach. He makes constant analogies between sports achievement and testing, especially when discussing how to motivate students to do well on difficult assessments. In advocating the need for contextual and situational validity and for providing feedback to students about their performance, Wiggins is persuasive. Logic, however, does not always support his arguments, especially when he tries to justify public standards while condemning what he calls “imposed national standards.”
Assessing Student Performance will boost a movement that Wiggins himself is largely responsible for starting. Although the book will be hard going for many readers, it will become a major reference work for supporters of student-centered assessment.
Available from Jossey-Bass Publishers, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104, for $28.95, plus $4.50 shipping.
—Reviewed by Ruth Mitchell, Education Policy Analyst, Washington, D.C.

Surpassing Ourselves

Surpassing Ourselves by Carl Bereiter and Marlene Scardamalia. Peru, Ill.: Open Court, 1993.
In the current atmosphere driving school restructuring efforts, it is often difficult for educators to define the direction as well as the reason for their efforts. Bereiter and Scardamalia provide compelling reasons for moving toward school conditions that support knowledge-building and progressive problem solving. In addition, they suggest the need for an environment where a community of learners produces knowledge rather than merely reproduces it.
The authors' central thesis is the importance of moving away from being a society of specialists toward a society that rewards and supports expertise. Although only two chapters address education directly, the discussion of what constitutes expertise, how it is developed, and why that development is important does have implications for looking at the goals of educational restructuring.
Education's challenge, as always, is to find a way to understand what it means to be an expert teacher/learner, identify those experts, and then find a reliable way of nurturing them.
Available from Open Court Publishing, Box 599, Peru, IL 61354, for $18.95/paper, $52.95/cloth, plus $3.00 shipping.
—Reviewed by Sandra Schnitzer, Aurora Public Schools, Aurora, Colorado.

This article was published anonymously, or the author name was removed in the process of digital storage.

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